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Tree of Life: Glitter and Gold

Lesson Plan and Artwork by Nadine Dresbach, Sax Art Consultant
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Lesson Plan
Grades 4-8
Sax Lesson Plans, Art, Historical Culture


Students will examine the work of Gustaf Klimt studying in particular his use of color shape line and his imagery used in his Tree of life.

Students will use Crayola® Paint Brush Pens, Crayola® Metallic Markers and Crayola® Glitter Markers to create a swirling adventure in line and color.


  • Students will study the artist Gustaf Klimt and the history of his work.
  • They will study his style and use of color, line and shape elements.
  • Students will experiment with brush tip markers to create desired effects of various lines.

Supplies Needed

Crayola® No Drip Paint Brushes, Assorted Colors, Set of 40
Crayola® Glitter Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 6
Crayola® Metallic Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 8
Strathmore® 400 Multi-Purpose Drawing Paper, White, 100 lb., 19" x 24", Pack of 50



Standard #3: Refine and complete artistic work.


Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.


Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.


Standard #11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.


Adjust quantities and add all items at once


Step 1

Begin with the line drawings of the trees in pencil, creating a landscape baseline as well. Have students create the baseline a few inches from the bottom of the tree so that the elements of shape and color can be added into the space later.

Step 2

Using the Crayola® Paint Brush Pens very gently highlight the outline of the tree and branches. It is important to have students practice using the brush tips if they have not done so before. Encourage students to make soft flowing movements of varying lengths. Encourage the students that not every pencil line needs to be traced. At this point they are just creating shadow edges of the tree itself. They should not trace it all; that will be done with the gold markers.

Step 3

Next bring in some elements of color. Note Klimt's work and how he used various shapes and hints of color throughout his piece. Now is the time to use the brush markers and add those elements to the students trees.

Step 4

Using the gold Crayola® Glitter Marker, students can now fill in the rest of the spaces inside the tree itself.

Step 5

Using Crayola® Metallic and Glitter markers, color in the background of the trees. In this pictured example, the negative spaces were first outlined with the gold metallic Crayola® marker. Then, the next outline was drawn with a blue glitter marker, followed with a return to the gold glitter marker.

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